Donna Barclay and Roger Bateman pose for a picture at ‘Connect in Nature: Inspire our World’ - an evening on Thursday. The Bateman Centre has undergone a re-branding to become the Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Robert Bateman Centre re-brands to promote mission of ‘reconnecting people to the natural world’

National public charity transforms to Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature

There is a special place for birds in the art world, and the Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature (formerly the Bateman Centre) is celebrating them all, from rufous hummingbirds and red-tailed hawks to bald eagles, vultures and common sparrows.

The fleeting, migratory beauties of North American skies captured by Bateman’s brush strokes are on display at the gallery’s latest exhibition: Plumage – The Majestic Art of Birds.

Running until June 9, the collection includes artworks from other major naturalists, artists and wildlife photographers – with art on display from JJ Audubon, Fenwick Lansdowne, Major Alan Brookes and, of course, Bateman himself – exploring the fascination artists have had with birds for over 200 years.

Bateman has said that “the world would be a better place if everyone was a birdwatcher,” and with the gallery’s latest exhibit, birdwatching has never been more accessible.

Located at the historic Steamship Terminal building in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, the gallery holds the largest collection of Bateman’s work, but its core mission is to display a rotation of nature-inspired artwork throughout the year – specifically pieces that focus on pressing issues like climate change, habitat destruction, recycling or simply the impact humans have on their local environment.

READ ALSO: Robert Bateman humbled to receive World Ecology Award

But the The Majestic Art of Birds isn’t the only excitement for the foundation. The longtime national charity has re-branded from the Bateman Centre to the Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature, in an effort to “better promote its mission of reconnecting people to the natural world.”

“The purpose of [showcasing] art, is if I can catch people’s eyes and attract them to different things in nature, then they’ll pay attention,” Bateman said.

Bateman created the foundation in 2012 with the idea that artwork could help Canadians connect to nature, and since then has hosted a number of exhibits and launched a series of inquiry-based, nature-focused education programs.

His career in pro-nature education, naturalism, art and writing has made him a prominent Canadian name both in art and conservation worlds across North America.

“The transition to the Gallery of Nature has been an exciting journey for all our staff, volunteers and board members,” said executive director Peter Ord. “We now look forward to developing more exciting partnerships to meet the original mission of Mr. Bateman to connect people to nature, which in turn preserves the environment.”

As wildlife photographer Terry Venables said during a presentation of his work at the ‘Connect in Nature: Inspire our World’ event on Thursday, “Nature provides many inspiring moments if we take the time to look.”

READ ALSO: Birds Eye View: Travelling pop-up exhibit lands first in Oak Bay

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Julie Ashton, David Schneider and Libby Foster pose at the ‘Connect in Nature: Inspire our World’ event celebrating the Bateman Centre’s transformation to the Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

The crowd ooed and awed at the work of wildlife photographer Terry Venables at Thursday’s ‘Connect in Nature: Inspire our World’ event at the Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

During his years as a high school teacher, Robert Bateman introduced nature into his classroom whenever possible. Now the artist’s charity is one of the only in Canada that primarily uses artwork to promote a connection with nature. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Bateman talked to the crowd about artists throughout history that inspired his work and love for nature. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Incredible art celebrates the beauty of feathered creatures at the Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature’s latest exhibit: Plumage: The Majestic Art of Birds, running until June 9. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

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